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With the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing less than a month away, let’s take a close look at the gold, silver and bronze “Tong Xin” medals that will be awarded at the much-anticipated global event.
“Tong Xin” means “together as one” and the circle-in-a-circle design is reminiscent of the themes seen in ancient Chinese jade pendants. The front of the medals feature the Olympic rings engraved in the center with rimmed concentric circles radiating outward. The circles embody the traditional Chinese philosophy of harmony between heaven, earth and human beings. The rings also represent the Olympic vision of building a better world through sport.
The raised rims create a channel effect, and three of the four channels are engraved with traditional Chinese patterns and descriptive information about the Games. The outermost channel contains icons of ice and snow, while the next channel is adorned with cloud iconography. The innermost channel is engraved with the words “XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”
“When athletes hold the medals in their hands, they will first touch the details embodying ancient Chinese culture,” noted chief designer Hang Hai. “Then if they look closely, they will see the cloud and snowflake patterns on the obverse side, and celestial patterns on the reverse side.”
The 2022 medals carry a slight resemblance to the jade-inlaid medals of the Olympic Summer Games that took place in Beijing in 2008. This was done intentionally to emphasize the fact that Beijing is the first city to host the Summer and Winter Games.
On the back of the medal, engraved in the centermost circle, is the emblem of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The full name of the games written in Chinese lettering is wrapped in a semi-circle underneath. Also engraved on the back is the name of the specific Olympic event for which the particular medal will be awarded.
Contrary to what many people believe, a gold medal awarded at the Olympics contains just 6 grams of gold. The core of the gold medal is actually made of 99.9% silver. Silver medals are, in fact, made of silver, and the bronze medals are made of copper.
There was a time when Olympic gold medals were made of solid gold, but the last ones were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, way back in 1912.
The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing will take place from February 4-20, 2022. The Paralympic Games begin March 4.
Credits: Images courtesy of Beijing 2022 Olympic Committee.